Lecture 19 - Weber on Charismatic Authority

author: Iván Szelényi, Yale University
recorded by: Yale University
published: June 24, 2012,   recorded: November 2009,   views: 2638
released under terms of: Creative Commons Attribution No Derivatives (CC-BY-ND)

See Also:

Download Video - generic video source Download yalesocy151f09_szelenyi_lec19_01.mp4 (Video - generic video source 571.0 MB)

Download Video Download yalesocy151f09_szelenyi_lec19_01.flv (Video 247.2 MB)

Download Video Download yalesocy151f09_szelenyi_lec19_01_640x360_h264.mp4 (Video 147.9 MB)

Download Video Download yalesocy151f09_szelenyi_lec19_01.wmv (Video 223.2 MB)

Download subtitles Download subtitles: TT/XML, RT, SRT

Help icon Streaming Video Help

Related Open Educational Resources

Related content

Report a problem or upload files

If you have found a problem with this lecture or would like to send us extra material, articles, exercises, etc., please use our ticket system to describe your request and upload the data.
Enter your e-mail into the 'Cc' field, and we will keep you updated with your request's status.
Lecture popularity: You need to login to cast your vote.


Charismatic authority, unlike traditional authority, is a revolutionary and unstable form of authority. Weber borrows the religious term of charisma and extends its use to a secular meaning. Audiences and followers believe that charismatic leaders have a close connection to a divine power, have exceptional skills, or are exemplary in some way. Charismatic leaders promise change in the future for the society and also change people's attitudes and values; in this way, charismatic authority is revolutionary in a way that traditional and legal-rational authority are not. However, charisma is unstable and deteriorates if the leader cannot produce the changes he promises or when he confronts the contradictory logics and demands of the other types of authority. There are particular ways--including search, revelation, designation, or heredity--that charismatic successors are identified, but transferring charismatic authority is difficult and not always successful.

Reading assignment:

Weber, Economy and Society, Chapter 3, pp. 241-254; 266-271

Link this page

Would you like to put a link to this lecture on your homepage?
Go ahead! Copy the HTML snippet !

Write your own review or comment:

make sure you have javascript enabled or clear this field: